Osvaldo Borsani studied art at Accademia di Brera and architecture at Politecnico di Milano, from 1931 to 1937. While still at school, Borsani participated in the 5th Triennale di Milano (1933), presenting his Casa Minima project (Minimal House), a simple minimalistic building rich in interior details, which earned him a silver medal.
After graduation Borsani joined his father’s furniture company, Atelier Varedo, as head of design and production. Between 1943 and -44 he designed and built the Villa Borsani in Varedo, Italy, which later housed his private archive and is opened to the public. In 1953, Osvaldo and his twin brother, Fulgenzio renamed the family business Tecno, a company that soon became known for its technology and research-based approach to furniture design.
The company’s first furniture collection was launched at the 10th Triennale di Milano in 1954 where the flexible sofabed D70 was awarded a silver medal. With the reclining lounge chair P40 Tecno’s reputation of designing innovative furniture was established. During 1956 to -58 Borsani furnished the office buildings of the Eni Oil & Gas Company in Rome and San Donato Milanese.
In 1963 Borsani designed the T69 table with curved, cast aluminum legs and five years later the modular office furniture system Graphis, designed by Borsani together with Eugenio Gerli was launched at the Triennale di Milano. Together with his daughter Valeria and Marco Fantoni, Borsani introduced the Centro Progetti Tecno, a collaborative design laboratory for new product development in 1970. The office chair Modus, designed in 1972 and made of a red plastic seat on an aluminum base, was one of the pieces developed in the laboratory. The Modus chair is a significant Tecno product useful for different workplace solutions.
In 1976 the P126 executive swivel office chair with a cast aluminum base and leather upholstery was launched. Four years later Borsani’s last designs, a series of ashtrays was completed and in 1989 Tecno was awarded the Compasso d’Oro for long-standing achievements in the field of design. Osvaldo Borsani died in 1985 at the age of 75, but Tecno is still today considered as one of the most progressive and successful European manufacturer of workplace interiors.